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Judge Makes Historic Ruling on Woman Held by 'Cult'

Kendra Ross is 'thrilled' by the judgment, lawyer says
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2018 2:30 PM CDT
Judge Makes Historic Ruling on Woman Held by 'Cult'
A judge's gavel is seen in this file image.   (Getty Images)

Kendra Ross mustered the courage to run for her life six years ago, and now could be a multi-millionaire. A judge awarded Ross $8 million in damages Wednesday for 10 years she was forced to clean, cook, and care for children in a Kansas group that court documents are calling a cult, the New York Times reports. "They yelled at her, and generally humiliated, shamed and embarrassed her on a regular basis," writes Judge Daniel Crabtree in his ruling. "She was young, vulnerable and alone during this 10-year period." Ross apparently moved in with female members of the United Nation of Islam Inc at age 12, got pulled from school at age 15, and was shuttled to jobs in various states. She also lived with cult founder Royall Jenkins as his servant.

At age 21, she bolted when a "psychic doctor" in the cult made her "marry" a polygamist, court documents say. Now she's facing a financial windfall—perhaps the highest ever in an American coerced-labor case. Ross is "thrilled" by the judgment, her lawyer Betsy Hutson tells the AP, adding that the $8 million is collectible because United Nation of Islam Inc (now called the Value Creators) has "significant properties." The group also has its own education system, medical system, a leader it calls "Allah in Person" (here's his blog), and preaches that black men are better than men and women of other races. For Ross, now 26 and living with PTSD, it's all about justice: "I mean, they took my childhood, my life and, I mean, I can’t get that back," she says. "So I want them to pay for that." (More cult stories.)

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